Chapter 44:

Wires and Concepts

Lovely kNight

Urania’s voice calls from beyond her door, beckoning for me to enter. I push forward and find myself taken aback. She stands before a tall mirror. During prior meetings there had been a cloth draped over it, keeping it covered. While she would usually be clad in informal, casual clothes, today her manner of dress is entirely different.

Garbed with a frilly blouse and a black mantle covering over her shoulders. Her skirt is to her knee, a black pleated style which reaches up and buttons across at her waist. The lining and details embroidered on the black fabric is a fine golden. Seeing her so well dressed in elegant and fine clothes causes my heart to dance.

She adjusts her matching black and golden tie in the mirror before she looks to my reflection.

“Good morning, Khiron. Thank you for your punctuality.”

“Good morning to you as well, Urania. Arriving on the hour is what a knight ought to do.”

“That it is.” She takes her seat at her desk. “And you are a fine knight.”

I only break out of my stupor when she motions to the seat open before her desk. The two of us are at a hush. She sits with her hands in her lap and her posture is refined as usual. With how pale and delicate her skin is, how finely her hair is braided paired together with her formal dress she’s like a cute doll seated in her dollhouse. She had always been an attractive woman but her allure comes out even stronger when placed into a uniform.

“Is something concerning you, Khiron?” Her voice snaps me back from my blatant staring.

“W-Well, not really.” I snap my gaze away and respond. “I was just curious about your clothes today. You’re… quite well dressed. Is there a special occasion?”

“This would be the first time you’ve seen me in uniform. Though I do wear these clothes on my own volition as they are the proper uniform for my position, I am wearing them today as we will be meeting his majesty after our own conference.”

“Wait. ‘We’? I’m going to be meeting with his majesty?”

“Yes. Today has important matters to tend to. Though I promise it won’t be all too long. You will be free to go about other matters in the latter half of the day.”

“Hopefully I’ll be able to meet Juna soon enough. I feel completely under dressed to be meeting his majesty again.”

“Fret not. His majesty is most partial towards the Celestial Knight. Your uniform at the moment is of no concern.”

“Truly? That’s a bit of a relief then.”

She adjusts her glasses and directs the conversation into more pressing matters than clothing.

“I have a few topics to discuss with you. The first would be news that I’d been made aware of only recently. The presence of two new Celestial Maidens has been confirmed.”

“Two? I’d been introduced to a new maiden this morning but you mean to tell me there’s another I have yet to meet?”

“You’ve come to the correct conclusion. Though Jupa would happen to be the first of the two, the second is a mystery to the kingdom’s search committee. Word had been received of a maiden among the streets. However, they were unable to find the individual themselves. As of now the investigation is still underway. When we have any updates we will be sending you first notice. I’d expect that the sudden, unannounced meeting today was a touch peculiar for yourself.”

“You’re… not wrong about that.” I rub my chin to fidget away my embarrassment from fresh memories. “I’d never expected that I’d still be meeting new maidens. I’d thought to myself that every maiden in the kingdom had been discovered.”

“There is always the potential that new maidens may be discovered, but they are still a very rare phenomena. By my calculations I’d reason that there would only be twelve maidens at the maximum.”

“T-Twelve, you say. I’ve only met eight maidens and with this unknown one there would be nine. Nine… maidens.” I sigh.

“Don’t worry. My calculations are simply the maximum I would predict to be possible given the previous records and average numbers of maidens throughout history.”

“That’s a relief to hear. I understand the maidens are important to my job as the Celestial Knight, but to know and meet with so many people… T-To kiss… even…”

“The next matter we have need to discuss would be with your daily routine. You’ve been given time to recompose yourself for your duties so your schedule has been fluid. The kingdom had decided to use this method as we had deemed that you would likely require an adjustment period. However, from this day forward there will slowly be more structure to our meetings and your work orders.”

“You really weren’t off the mark. It’s been a lot to handle so I’m grateful you’ve allowed me that time.”

“Starting from today you will be given a calendar of events which have been set up for your benefit. These events include, but are not limited to: lessons taught by myself, special meetings with the Celestial Maidens either solely or as a whole, and your duties as the Celestial Knight. Your calendar of events will be logged into this device which we have created especially for you.”

She opens a desk drawer and removes an instrument. Small enough to be pocketed or pouched, it has 3 buttons aside one thin face of its rectangular body. A black mirror stares back at me as she slides it over.

“Is this one of those devices that a portion of the kingdom knights use?”

“It’s quite similar to those general issue models, but this one is an improved revision with features implemented only for the Celestial Knight. Today the maidens too will be gifted their own devices by which you will be able to freely communicate with them. If the need arises, you and the maidens may be tracked.”

“Tracking? That… sounds a little bit questionable.”

“Have no fear; you may track the maidens as well as they may track each other and yourself.”

“That’s not quite what I’d… meant… But I think I understand just what the purpose is.”

“Would you like for me to teach you how to operate the device?”

“Is there a manual to read from?”

Surprise jumps onto Urania’s otherwise ever emotionless face. Though the hint of intrigue is so minute that it’s only barely noticeable, it conveys her emotions phenomenally. When someone is so often expressionless the most fine dip of their brow carries a much greater impact than those with more pronounced emotional expression.

“It’s rare anyone would be interested in reading from a manual. You have my respect.”

“Is it that uncommon? I’d expect that anyone would want to properly study the subject they have need to understand.”

“It would happen to be an inordinary request. I’d never met anyone else who had desired to read the manual for their device rather than it be taught by myself.”

She brandishes a small booklet and sets it beside the device on the table.

“This device is called a KNITE Signal. Although many refer to it simply as a ‘communicator’ or even a ‘phone’.”

“Thank you. This will come in handy.” I take the communicator and the manual for myself.

“Now then. Since we’ve had that discussion, there is one final topic to speak over.”

Adjusting her glasses once more and taking on an even more dire and focused disposition, she begins.

“A Dark Seed has been located in the Boötes Desert in the east. It’s young and still in the process of maturing thus it is currently inaccessible for entry. Of the currently discovered Dark Seeds, it is the one which is closest to the city walls. This gives this Seed precedence over the rest of the Dark Seeds which have previously been accounted for. It would seem with regards to historical patterns, the more distant a Dark Seed is, the greater sum of time that will be required for it to grow to full maturity.”

“A Dark Seed near the kingdom?” I’m brought to the edge of my seat. “How much longer does it have left to mature? When would I be able to enter it?”

“According to the readings from our monitoring, it will be no longer than a week’s time that it should reach full maturity. This Dark Seed will doubtlessly be the first in your duties as the Celestial Knight so it’s imperative that you would gather the proper strength from the maidens in order to be prepared to face it.”

“Gather strength from the maidens?” I absentmindedly scratch my cheek while nerves rise. “Y-You’re right that it’s for the best I’d be well prepared… But…”

“From all that I’ve come to understand, you’ve done well thus far with your duties. However, before you would enter this Dark Seed I would suggest drawing closer to the remaining maidens from whom you have yet to be gifted magic.”

“I suppose that would leave Mercy and Neptanie, technically.”

“It was a most fortunate event that two new more maidens have been discovered. You will need as much strength as you can receive and the more there may be, the greater your potential for strength and growth. As mentioned, there is the potential that there are more maidens who have yet to be discovered. I hope that will be the case for yours and the kingdom’s sake.”

“I just hope there won’t be too many more to come… Twelve would be a little much.” I mutter the last part under my breath.

“This Dark Seed and its theoretical Root has been given the code name of ‘Pride’. As of this moment we have been able to find 6 other major Dark Seeds of comparable caliber. From our studies and monitoring, the second Dark Seed which is likely be the next to reach full maturity in sequence has been named ‘Gluttony’. We will shift our focus towards Gluttony in time to come. For now, focus on Pride and gather the strength you need to uproot it.”

“I… understand. I’ll do my best to prepare myself.”

“I look forward to seeing the fruits of your labor. I understand that you may yet foster when difficulties when it comes to performing your duty with the maidens, but I more than believe in your abilities as the Celestial Knight.”